Rifle water restrictions in place until further notice
A mandatory prohibition on outdoor use for Rifle municipal water customers will remain in place until the city finds a permanent solution to problems with the raw water delivery system.
Crews and city staff were still trying to reach that permanent solution Wednesday.
“We will be on mandatory outdoor water use restrictions on an ongoing basis until there is a permanent solution discovered, which is actively underway,” Rifle City Manager Matt Sturgeon said.
There was no time frame for when a solution could be reached and when the water restrictions could be lifted. However, there was at least one positive development Wednesday afternoon.
After repairing a break in the city’s raw water line last week, water staff detected issues with some of the valves on the three pumps that push Colorado River water through the raw water line to the Graham Mesa water treatment plant.
The city received the replacement valves Tuesday but could not safely start the replacement process without shutting off a temporary mobile water pump brought in to compensate for the issues with the city’s pumps.
Taking the mobile pump off-line without a secondary source of water was not an option, Sturgeon said. Fortunately, he added, there was an old storage pond with a nearby pipeline just west of the current pump station in need of repairs.
A second mobile pump was brought in and started pumping water from the secondary location to the water treatment plant. Prior to that point it was uncertain whether the city would be able to pump from the secondary location.
The city is monitoring the situation overnight to gauge the reliability of the new water source. If all goes well, crews could start replacing the valves Thursday, according to Sturgeon.
While the news was a positive development, Sturgeon said the water restrictions will remain in place until further notice.
“It’s a very real emergency condition but we’ve been able to maintain water delivery so that we can deal with sanitation and fire protection issues and allow businesses to operate and allow people to live in their homes comfortably. We just can’t allow outdoor water use,” Sturgeon said, adding that outdoor use amounts to approximately 60 percent of water consumption in the summer months. “And we can’t meet that demand.”
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